Fabregas and Nasri in Arsenal's Euro squad
Published 10/08/2011 | 05:00
Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have been included in Arsenal's squad for this month's Champions League tie with Udinese, suggesting that Arsene Wenger is prepared to take a financial hit and make both players stay.
Though Nasri, a target for both Manchester United and Manchester City, is match fit and had been expected to be included in Wenger's squad, the presence of Fabregas -- who has missed much of pre-season with a hamstring injury -- is something of a surprise.
The gesture could be interpreted as one of defiance from the Arsenal manager, indicating that both players will be made to stay despite their evident desire to depart -- or as a warning to both City and Barcelona, who have failed to match the Gunners' £40m asking price for Fabregas, that both sagas must be resolved sooner rather than later.
Should either player feature against Udinese at the Emirates on August 16, or in the return leg a week later, neither would be eligible for the Champions League for any other club, making them significantly less appealing to their suitors. Playing would, in all likelihood, end any possible transfer this season.
Wenger, meanwhile, is continuing his search for new players.
Having already added the Ivorian forward Gervinho and Southampton winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to his squad for a combined cost of around £26m, he was yesterday granted a work permit for Japanese teenager Ryo Miyaichi and is close to completing a deal for Valencia midfielder Juan Mata.
However, his attempts to sign the defensive reinforcements his team so desperately require remain laborious.
Wenger's primary target, Everton's Phil Jagielka, seems more likely than ever to remain at Goodison Park after Arsenal failed to follow up their opening bid of £12m.
That has forced the Arsenal manager to consider other options, with Birmingham defender Scott Dann joining Bolton's Gary Cahill and Blackburn's Chris Samba on his shortlist.
The Frenchman faces competition from Liverpool for Dann, who is valued by his club at around £8m. (© Daily Telegraph, London)